Music Reviews



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Artist: KOBOLD (@)
Title: A Taste of Copper
Format: CD
Label: Artoffact (@)
Distributor: Storming The Base
Rated: *****
Hailing from New Mexico, USA, this duo was already announced as being a newcomer signed to the fine Canadian label Artoffact. And as the good label name obliged to – also this release features that something special musically, which drifts away from your usual Electro/Industrial listening. First, this release needs some time and a bunch of more rotations until some one can find the real entrance to this music. KOBOLD surprise with some unheard experimental electronic tunes, which offer fantastic programming abilities. Think on some works of INDEX on the more up-beating tracks (I wouldn’t tend to say danceable...) like "Puzzlebox", "Rubicon" or the nice "Intrinsic", combined with a rough influence of some classic SKINNY PUPPY/early NEW MIND ("Fractured"-era) works on the slow and creepy pieces like "Murmur" or the ominous title track. The comparison to INDEX isn’t that far away, because one of the additional musicians is Cody Cast, who has built INDEX together with Eric Chamberlain in their early years. Although this release can be called modern and up-to-date, the older PUPPYan influence adds an interesting and long missed component to KOBOLD’s music. Two remix works by BIAXIAL CREEP on the tracks "The Other Side" and "Human Cages" are also featured here, offering some IDM influences to the originals. This is an addictive and marvelous release, but surely no stuff to listen in addition while doing some household work. What a pity, but I fear that this fine act will be totally underrated.

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Artist: DERMA-TEK
Title: Corpus Technological
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
The debut of this male/female-leaded US-duo was already awaited thanks to some well placed compilation appearances on the various all-time favorites "Endzeit Bunkertracks" and "Interbreeding" series. DSBP finally received the rights on this highly sought-after act and it seems to me a bit, that this label has picked up an act which can promise a not expected success, which this label deserves like no one else. See it, Tommy T. is working his ass off to promote his acts on his label, some more national and international recognition is required to reach some better sales. So this could happen with DERMA-TEK, consisting of Joe Cains (vocals, machines) and the hot Miranda St. Croix (machines). They are of course not the immediately follow-up act to some DEPECHE MODE-sounding Synthpoppers, they rather more spread their hatred seed out on some Hellektro/Aggrotech fields. They would musically fit excellent into the NoiTekk roster, but note that finally almost all labels at the scene have signed at least one act providing the known success formula with highly distorted whisper-like vocals, hard, head-nailing danceable beats at 140 bpm, rough, monotonous bass lines and some hints into some Trance-like programmings. So you’ll got here an intro piece and nine pounding assaults which make it impossible to sit still to. DERMA-TEK have learned their lessons well and a track like "T.W.E.P." can combine excellent a fairytale-like kling-klang melody with the hard-driving aggression, one of the best works here. Another remarkable piece can be heard with "Less Important", which is a collaboration composition with the up and coming US act XENTRIFUGE. It can be called conspicuous, that DERMA-TEK take care to offer socially and politically critical lyrics, the globally fine worked out mix and end mastering (by Alex Matheu of NEGATIVE FORMAT) and the artwork done by no one else than Willi "Deaddreamer" speaks for and shows well the professionality which stands behind this release. The best seems to be just good enough for this release, although – and this needs to be said, too – DERMA-TEK cannot offer anything new or innovative to the listener. This should be the target for some future releases, to develop and to work out an own authentic style. DERMA-TEC offer a well-done scene-related debut above some usual and comparable productions, while still leaving some free space to reach a wider musically diversity.

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Artist: Harald Bosh
Title: Die Sonne scheint für alle umsonst
Format: CDS (CD Single)
Label: Dercho Music (@)
Distributor: Oomoxx Media
Rated: *****
We welcome with Dercho Music a German mail order service on front of the scene by presenting the debut SiCD of Harald Bosh a first audio sign of life. This 3-track release is musically based into the Synthpop-genre and provides Harald’s theatrically deep-male vocals on some music efforts by a person active under the moniker D.W.R. 2009. It isn’t that sweet and catchy kind of Synthpop, it moreover transmits a strong impression of some Wave/Romantic acts out of the good old 80ties. And also Harald’s vocals are not presented and recorded in a bedroom pitch. The lyrics are completely presented in German, but with a "horrible" Russian accent – it causes at times a smile on my face, and I really have to listen carefully to grab the content. He’s born in Omsk, Siberia/Russia and his father is half-Italian, while his mother is German-Russian – this facts for sure explain his intonation and dialect. Also his classic vocal training and his appearance at the Russian theatre has an influence here, especially when he tries a more dramatic kind, which can be checked with the third track "Doppelte Rechnung". Hard to judge on this artist with only 3 tracks, I also guess that he would earn much more attention with some concerts. A full-length release is already announced with the same title than this Single-CD which works as an appetizer. Globally and hand-crafting a constant good work, let’s wait and see what the coming album has to offer.
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Artist: THE MERCY CAGE (@)
Title: Scree: Transmissions
Format: CD
Label: DSBP (@)
Distributor: DSBP
Rated: *****
Before some etlitic people start complaining that this release isn’t really new, lets mention that New Zealand’s finest act now is a member of the Australian Crash Frequency collective. Indeed – this is a required and welcomed addition, this also explains, why I received this release to my surprise directly from the band. The display of my Discman shows me 23 tracks and more than 70 minutes playing time – damnit, that’s a lot of stuff to discover here. THE MERCY CAGE also do themselves the best to a offer a varied acoustic experience and provide a wide diversity of different music styles. Influences are pending between Electro/Industrial, Synth-/Futurepop, Gothic/Wave up to classic Coldwave Industrial following some famous US patterns. Globally they remind me on some decades of the US act SPAHN RANCH. It seems a bit that they try to represent with their diversity also the different flavors and cultural influences of their home-country. Favorites are hard to named, because this depends on your personal taste. For me "Reduce.Distill.Purify.Teach" really hits the target, maybe the track with a constant huge Electro/Industrial influence. There’s still the unsolved secret, why this release got not released by BLC Productions as intended, but I don’t wanna go on to spread some salt into open wounds. A nice full-length release available and presented by the DSBP, give it a try. We’re gonna wait for new stuff, by the way...

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Artist: DAVID WELLS
Title: Op. 2
Format: CD
Label: SiRiDisc
Rated: *****
Though voluntarily minimal in its package (a clear clam shell, a black disc, a b/w disc face with titles, contacts and the author's signature), I guess this is a truly important record for Scottish dronemaker David Wells: it coincides with his move from Edinburgh to Madrid, and also marks the debut of his new personal label SiRiDisc after years of activity with The Locus of Assemblage. But first and foremost, it's a kind of sum of what Wells has released until now, starting with a full version of his "Op. 2.1" released in fellow artist Paul Bradley's acclaimed "Droneworks" series. In the end, it turns out to be his most mature and richest release yet, the one where (also thanks to the engaging length: three tracks clocking in at 73' 48") he fully explores his compositive style. I think that Wells is one of the rare cases when a massive album works definitely better than a short ep: one has to fully dive into his soundscapes, and it rightly takes time to do that. Showing how his approach to drones is similar to Bradley's, Wells opts for a rich palette of frequencies and textures; listen for example to the very beginning of the disc, with a billowing, almost intimidating climax slowly giving way to more meditative atmospheres. The drones + field recordings formula is surely nothing new under the sun (just like 99,9% of the music out there, either good or bad), but the author already shows a style of his own, with a great taste for the juxtaposition (or blend) of shadowy introspections and ecstatic raptures. With an expanded vision, also his way of creating short collage-like subsections works at its best: the sense-wrapping soundscapes he weaves fully integrate these little detours or movements. I'm now looking forward to his new collaboration with Bradley and a new solo work for Mystery Sea, a label that suits him perfectly.
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